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Children’s author S M MATTHEWS tells us why he decided to write about violence against women and the path to change in his first novel for adults, The Skinny Girl.
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Archive Discoveries

  • In the early 1900s, the luminescent properties of radium – a highly radioactive metal – had just been discovered, and entrepreneurs were quick to identify its marketing potential. They flooded supermarket shelves with radium-based products, and thousands of young women in North America were hired to paint clock dials with radium. The girls would go home with their hands aglow, oblivious to the bone-destroying radiation they had been exposed to. We spoke with London-based author KATE MOORE about these workers’ stories, which appear in her new book, The Radium Girls. Read on >
  • The Sound, the second book from novelist SARAH DRUMMOND, is set around Western Australia’s King George
Sound. Based on a true story, the novel tells of Wiremu Heke, a Maori man from across the Tasman who sails from Tasmania to WA in 1825 on a mission of vengeance. We asked Sarah to tell us about Wiremu and about The Sound. Read on >
  • This book might have the word ‘tax’ in its title, but don’t let that dreary term fool you. The Great Multinational Tax Rort tells the intriguing tale of how, for decades, multinational corporations have been slithering out of their obligations to pay their fair share of tax, leaving governments with shrinking funds to pay for essential services for their citizens. In this extract, MARTIN FEIL, also the author of The Failure of Free-Market Economics, outlines some of the techniques these business behemoths use to cunningly avoid paying tax – leaving us all the poorer. Read on >
  • While researching for a non-fiction book about the botanical history of some of the world’s most popular alcoholic drinks, US author AMY STEWART stumbled across a gin smuggler’s altercation with an officious woman named Constance Kopp. This discovery catalysed her historical crime-fiction series, set in New Jersey in 1915, based on Constance and her two sisters. As the second instalment in the series, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, is released, ANGUS DALTON finds out more. Read on >
  • PEPPER HARDING is the pen name of a writer from San Francisco. The Heart of Henry Quantum, Pepper’s new novel, follows a scatterbrained husband’s erratic journey through the streets of San Francisco as he hunts down his wife’s Christmas present – a bottle of Chanel No. 5. Along the way he runs into his former lover, Daisy. We asked the author about his new novel and the eccentric thought journeys that appears throughout its pages. Read on >
  • RICHARD ROXBURGH has been extraordinarily versatile over the
decades of his acting career. The Albury-born actor has played both Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis, Professor Moriarty, appeared as Count Dracula in the 2004 movie Van Helsing and played the lead role in Rake, a TV show he co-created. But he’s just as talented
on the page as he is on screen and stage; Roxburgh has written and illustrated a new kids’ book, Artie and the Grime Wave. We asked him about his influences and what lead him to this new project. Read on >
  • Most of us think of Australia as a sunny land filled with straightforward, open and candid people. But in ANNA ROMER’s version of the country, it’s a place filled with secrets and people who will do anything to keep them concealed. She talks with ALEX HENDERSON about her new book, Beyond the Orchard, Victoria’s haunted Otway Coast and the power of fear. Read on >
  • We talk with PATRICK HOLLAND, a longlist nominee for the 2011 Miles Franklin Award for his novel The Mary Smokes Boys, about his new novel, One, which tells the story of the real-life Kenniff brothers. These two late-19th-century Queenslanders were Australia’s last bushrangers, and vPatrick questions the extent of their supposed villainy. Read on >
  • For many of us, the streets of London or New York are more familiar
than the towns and settlements of the remote north and centre of our own country. But non-Indigenous artist and writer KIM MAHOOD, who spent many years of her childhood on a cattle station amid Indigenous lands, knows these parts of Australia well. In her new book, Position Doubtful, she recounts
 her frequent journeys from her home in Wamboin, near Canberra, back to Indigenous communities in NT and WA. We caught up with Kim in Alice Springs just as she was preparing to head out on a 1000 km road trip. Read on >
  • Stretching across generations and set on the Atherton Tablelands where she lives, the latest novel from prolific Australian author BARBARA HANNAY is a saga of loss, love, secrets and salvation. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN 
about her writing life, and how The Grazier's Wife evolved.   Read on >
  • The jazz era of the 1920s in America was
 filled with exuberant music, fast cars and young men and women determined to have a good time. But at the same time in working-class Far North Queensland, life wasn’t lived at quite the same level of opulence.
In a new novel, Treading Air, Queensland author ARIELLA VAN LUYN uses fiction to investigate the life of a real young woman from Townsville named Lizzie O’Dea, who shot another woman in 1924. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Michael Quetting begins his memoir Papa Goose: One year, seven goslings, and the flight of my life by saying, ‘I’m heavily pregnant with nonuplets. At least that’s pretty much how I feel right now.’ Read a few chapters of this joyous book a night and you’ll go to sleep happy. Read on >

  • With an image on each page, this book has you smiling one minute and then suddenly tearing up. It’s the perfect gift for any dog lover, and you might find yourself to strive harder to live up to the brilliant person your dog sees you as. Read on >

  • Axel Linden’s On Sheep: Diary of a Swedish Shepherd ruminates on another domesticated mammal that even animal lovers don’t tend to look fondly upon. Indeed, calling someone a ‘sheep’ is an insult meant to insinuate stupidity. Read on >

  • The Eastern Curlew explores how Australia’s largest migratory shorebird – which sports an impressive curving bill five times longer than its head – flies 10 000 kilometres from Artic breeding grounds to feed on soldier crabs and molluscs populating mudflats on Australia’s east coast. Read on >

  • Alison Lester, who in 2012, became the Australia’s first Children’s Book Laureate, always writes and illustrates perfect little books for young children. Noni the Pony Rescues a Joey has such charming rhyming verse that it would be a pleasure to read aloud to the littlies. And the wonderfully expressive faces of the animals help to bring this happy little story to life. Read on >

  • Bronwyn Bancroft’s illustrations are, as always, distinctively big, bold and beautiful and the story is simply told by first-time children’s author, Nina Lawrence. But this is a story with a difference. It is a bilingual tale told in English and translated in Djambarrpuynu language from North East Arnhem Land. With many schools now promoting indigenous Australian languages this would be a wonderful introduction and inspiration for their students. Read on >

  • Once in a while, a book comes into your life that is so beautiful that you desperately want to give it to someone you love. This is that book for me. I Am the Seed that Grew the Tree is a collection of poems for children. There’s a poem for every day of the year. Read on >

  • Daykin has a quirky style that takes some getting used to. However, the story rollicks along with such enthusiasm that we soon adjust to the style and are abs orbed by the mystery. The characters are an interesting mix of eccentric, weird and relatively normal. Elvis, the youngest character, is often the most mature and sensible of the group. This is a fun exploration of issues that are important to all of us: who are we, where did we come from, and to whom do we belong? Read on >

  • This is a poignant, often thrilling story – beautifully illustrated by Emily Gravett – that gives permission to the reader to wonder about the greatest mystery of all: what happens afterwards. Read on >

  • For Peter, an unfathomable fear oppresses him. His calculating mind tallies, adds, subtracts and deciphers square roots – all to cloud the fear and allow him a somewhat normal existence. That is, until his mother becomes an unfortunate victim in an assassination attempt and his sister suspiciously disappears. Read on >

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The Paris Collaborator